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Old December 16th, 2017, 03:35 PM   #11

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Originally Posted by Isleifson View Post
There are not only Hunther-Gatherer and Farmer, there is Pastoralism too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoralism
Yes, pastoralism with basic technology probably provides military superior to farmers and thus many times pastoralist elites came to rule over farmers until another invasion a few generations later displacing or intermarrying with the current elites.

However hunter-gatherers are usually very isolated in small bands with limited exposure to new technology and even less ability to organize which is a more serious issue than numbers as pastoralists were always vastly fewer in numbers than the farming societies they conquered but in some ways the pastoralist organization was superior to the farming organization where farmers tend to be led by central rulers supported by a priesthood while pastoralists tend to be organized around territories easy to defend from raids with warlords supported by war chiefs influencing lesser numbers but similar principals.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 06:56 AM   #12

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Originally Posted by Voltaires Hat View Post
Agricultural societies by definition have greater energy storage, and so consequently a greater capacity to produce superior technology (including weaponry). They also tend to have more people to participate in military exercises.
What does the first sentence mean?

This isn't a physical science forum, please.

Are you a bot?
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Old December 18th, 2017, 07:53 AM   #13

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Originally Posted by Kotromanic View Post
What does the first sentence mean?

This isn't a physical science forum, please.

Are you a bot?
Well, I am a programmer, so pretty close to a bot.

Not sure what you mean re: the physical science comment, but what I meant by that post is that an agricultural society by definition has more energy to consume, hence the agricultural part. Sure, this might be related to science, I guess, but it's a pretty critical point to this thread.

Take two theoretical communities of people, one a band of hunter gatherers, and another an agricultural community with domesticated animals and plants.

The hunter gatherer band only has transient food that lasts them for very short periods of time. They spend a lot of their time simply looking for food. They are often hungry and don't have energy for a lot of excess like art, weaponry, and housing.

The agricultural community, however, grows enough plants and raises enough animals to feed themselves for long periods of time. This frees them from looking for food, and allows them to become specialists in other things (like more sophisticated weaponry, and architecture).

So the growth of civilization is, in essence, a result of freeing people from land. With excess food they have time to do other things.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that an agricultural community will almost always have superior technology to a hunter-gathering community, and in battle the latter will almost always lose.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 08:05 AM   #14

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I've very recently started reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

Early on in the book, the author makes the argument of how agricultural societies almost always win against hunter-gatherer nomadic societies.

But, what about the early Arab Islamic invasions of Persian and Roman Middle East and North Africa/Mediterranean?
Or the Mongol invasions of, well, most of Asia and Russia?

Surely both of them took on empires that supported significantly more people and perhaps even superior technology.

Do you think the assumption that nomads always lose can hold true always?
Also the Plains tribes of the Americas.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 10:10 AM   #15

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Writing and arithmetic were invented so everybody could know who put how much grain into the granaries.

Agriculture was the kickstarter of history.
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Old December 18th, 2017, 10:19 AM   #16

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satuf View Post
I've very recently started reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

Early on in the book, the author makes the argument of how agricultural societies almost always win against hunter-gatherer nomadic societies.

But, what about the early Arab Islamic invasions of Persian and Roman Middle East and North Africa/Mediterranean?
Or the Mongol invasions of, well, most of Asia and Russia?

Surely both of them took on empires that supported significantly more people and perhaps even superior technology.

Do you think the assumption that nomads always lose can hold true always?
Arabs only filled a gap left by Roman and persian empires after they consuned each others in wars ... they superseeded on those cultures adopting their tech and imposing their rule.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 07:45 AM   #17
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In the long term the agricultural societies will always win. Even if we consider the Mongols and Arabs to be strictly hunter gatherers, which is debatable, they cannot win in the long term, even if this takes several centuries. By which time the invaders are usually assimilated into the lifestyle of the vanquished.
even if measured in months or years, a fixed civilization has the odds in their favor, because they can hold out longer against a mobile army, assuming they take defense seriously and prepare for such an incident. it is a classic strategy for those on the defense to just hole up and wait out your aggressor, so long as you have appropriate provisions to do so.

The Mongols are actually a great example for this, too: when they invaded the middle-east, they would flee back north in the summer months, because they operated seasonally, much like the Taliban do
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 07:51 AM   #18
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on an interesting tangent, i would point out that evidence shows that the populace of a fixed agricultural society was typically less healthy than those who were hunter-gatherers, or less dependent on fixed agriculture - particularly grain based agriculture: Smaller in stature, smaller musculature, weaker bones, higher disease rates.

However, they made up for this by having a much larger populace because they had higher birth rates, and could spend more time developing weapons and defenses over the generations that were specifically tailored to their conditions and abilities; a roving invader's weaponry may work well in their native territory, but fail in another condition

Last edited by Ty520; December 22nd, 2017 at 08:40 AM.
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 08:41 AM   #19
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on an interesting tangent, i would point out that evidence shows that the populace of a fixed agricultural society was typically less healthy than those who were hunter-gatherers, and less dependent on fixed agriculture - particularly grain based agriculture. Smalelr in stature, smaller musculature, weaker bones, higher disease rates.

However, they made up for this with having a much larger populace because they could breed faster and spend more time developing defenses

The hunter gatherer population in northern europe declined steadily towards the end of the mesolithic, possibly due to the changing migration patterns of the quarry as more water was put into the seas and rivers. They probably migrated to where there was better hunting. The incoming farmers of the neolithic thrived and population levels grew rapidly during the LBK. however, there was a sudden population crash which reduced population levels down to those of the late mesolithic in some parts of europe.

It is not known why this was. Boquet-Appel suggests that it may be due to infectious diseases caught from the zoonoses of domesticated animals, others suggest a series of bad harvests. There was more to farming than just producing food. Storing it and remaining disease free were also new things to learn. One only has to look at the number of people who died from swine flue in 1918.

Regional population collapse followed initial agriculture booms in mid-Holocene Europe
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Old December 22nd, 2017, 11:06 AM   #20

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